Ordinary People


(out of 5)

Casting against type is what’s best about this family drama, one of the first to start the 80s trend of sober films where people talk about their myriad of problems.  is so good she’s scary as the hard-edge suburban mother who refuses to see the problems facing her and her family: her husband () is slipping away from her emotionally and her younger son ( in a great debut) can’t deal with the accidental death of his golden-boy older brother, so much that he has previously attempted suicide. Sutherland as the husband is so very great, finally allowed to play an open person with feelings (he’d perfected that cold-blooded unaffected hero thing in Klute and it seems to be haunting him to this day). Credit Moore, though, for pushing this film forward–her character’s self-denial makes you want to scream–and credit director Robert Redford for making sure every actor in the piece is so precise.  Beautiful work from all, including a great supporting cast with  (another great screen debut),  and  as a shrink whose scenes are a pre-cursor to Good Will Hunting.

Paramount Pictures, Wildwood Enterprises

USA, 1980

Directed by

Screenplay by , based on the novel by

Cinematography by

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by ,

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1980

Golden Globe Awards 1980

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